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Hug Your Super-Efficient Water Heater On Heat Pump Water Heater Day

You’ve heard of tree huggers? Well, on October 26, the Advanced Water Heating Initiative and hundreds of other organizations will celebrate another cylindrical climate saving object we should all be excited about (and maybe even hugging) — the heat pump water heater. 

I know it may sound strange to hug the perhaps least-loved, least-exciting appliance in your home, but ENERGY STAR heat pump water heaters are one of the most important climate saving tools you’ve perhaps never heard of.

Sure, we are all excited about solar panels, wind turbines, electric bikes and vehicles, heat pumps, and LED light bulbs. But the heat pump water heater needs a primary spot on that list of earth-saving, life-improving technology. Why? Water heating is responsible for around 20% of a home’s energy use, which means it is a significant source of CO2 emissions (100 million tons a year according to the Advanced Water Heating Initiative), and it costs families hundreds of dollars in energy bills.

Heat pump water heaters are the silver bullet to this problem. They are 2–4 times more efficient than a fossil gas or electric resistance water heater, emit little if any CO2 (depending on your electricity mix), and cost you around $100 a year to operate, which saves the average family of four $470 a year. And they heat water faster than electric resistance water heaters, which are in half the homes nationwide. 

They are one of the lowest hanging fruits on our decarbonization pathway because they have a relatively low upfront cost (especially with new Inflation Reduction Act tax credits) and can pay for themselves in 2–3 years with their energy savings. 

HPWH are one of the lowest hanging fruits on our decarbonization pathway. Image by Barb Burwell.

The problem is, hardly anyone ever thinks about their hot water heater or ever considers it as a climate- and money-saving knight in shining armor. So, while HPWH sales increased 7% from 2020–2021 (from 104,000 to 112,000), they still represent less than 2% of the 8 million water heaters sold every year.

We’ve got some work to do, which is why we need a day dedicated to the lowly water heater. Let’s get the word out about this game-changing technology! Hundreds of organizations will celebrate the first Heat Pump Water Heater Day on October 26. Join us on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram) using the hashtag #HeatPumpItUp to share your HPWH resources, products, professional practices, projects, and insights on why you think this is a game changing technology. Go to for more information, and find free sample posts here.

There will also be a free webinar with the manufacturers of heat pump water heaters on October 26.

And, finally, if seeing an overly enthusiastic nerd wearing a costume and pretending to be a heat pump water heater will get you pumped up — well, I’ve done that too.

Your two heat pump friends. Rewiring America’s Sam Calish on the right as Mr. Heat Pump and me as a friendly heat pump water heater.

Get pumped up for heat pump water heaters. Maybe even give one a hug if you have it and share more on Heat Pump Water Heater Day, October 26!

Other heat pump news:


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Written By

Joe lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit New Buildings Institute, which promotes electric and decarbonized buildings. He also volunteers with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.


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